As a Feminist, I want to admit that for a while I was afraid to define myself as such. I heard people calling feminists “man-haters”, “forever alone”, and “bra-burners”. I didn’t realize that these definitions were part of the reason feminism exists. I also was unaware that any human, regardless of their gender-identification, can be a feminist. You might be laughing, but that information blew my mind not too long ago.
I want to dispel some myths and clear the air around what a Feminist or what Feminism is NOT.
Consider this a handy-dandy reference guide.
Reference book by Honou on Flickr, CC
Why am I doing this? Because although some people may use the term “feminism” it does not a feminist make.
1. Feminists do not hate men; they do not hate any gender. The definition of feminism is “one who believes in and/or promotes identity equality”. This means that gender-bashing , or identity-bashing, is a big no-no.
Well, then why does this stigma exist? Because Feminists do hate institutions which reinforce and perpetuate ideas that privilege one gender over another (ie: the patriarchy) which can be mistaken (by those who do not know what patriarchy is) as something that is just related to men… it’s not.
2. Feminism is not just for women; it’s for everyone. Regardless of your race, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexuality, and other identifications, you can be a feminist. Do you support equality of humans regardless of their identity? You might be a Feminist!
A handful of years ago, Feminism was largely about gender equality for males and females, but as time has passed, this definition has changed. Google has not caught up, however.
Screenshot with added red circle-dash by BreakingLinea
Note: this might be someones personal definition, and that is also alright.
3. Feminism is not about burning bras; feminism might say anyone can burn a bra, but anyone can also wear said bra.
4. Feminism does not signify your sexuality or relationship status; anyone can be a feminist. Feminists are not just female-identifying individuals.
Wait… did I just say… anyone can be a Feminist? Why, yes. Yes, I did.
I’ll say it again.
You can be a feminist. You might already be one. Just don’t let stereotypes and stigmas get in the way of promoting equality! From my own personal experience, be who you are and don’t let your fears or stereotypes get in your way.
Be the change you want to see in the world.